Mass media is designed to reach large audiences with technology. Its purpose is meant to give us entertainment and information we need to act as a society. Media is everywhere; there is no escaping from it. Almost every home in America has at least one TV, the internet, and a cell phone. You cannot drive down the street without seeing billboard signs. Checking out at the grocery store can be tricky if trying to avoid magazines. There are more forms of media available today then ever before; consequently, teens are exposed to a lot of information. The media is supposed to portray what is normal; therefore, it affects what society considers normal. Teens are much more impressionable then adults. What the media tells them is normal affects them more. The media’s portrayal of body image affects teens negatively through using stereotypes, encouraging sexual behavior, and promoting unnecessary products.
The media uses stereotypes to portray what a “normal” body should look like. Women are often shown unrealistically thin and men with muscles larger than life. The idea that these unrealistic bodies are normal and healthy can be quite damaging to a teens self body image. In 2003, Teen Magazine reported that 35 percent of girls 6 to 12 years old have been on at least one diet, and 50 to 70 percent of normal weight girls believe that they are overweight. Boys also feel pressure into weight training and using steroids to achieve that perfect body. Weight is not the only stereotype the media uses. Teen dramas use the stereotype that the popular kids are beautiful, smart, and have no physical flaws.
The popular kids also have money, dress in name brand clothes, drive fancy cars, and only date equally perfect teens. Teens want to be like the made up characters they see on teen dramas; undoubtedly forcing unnecessary pressure on them to be perfect. In reality the media is not showing the real picture of the diverse world we live in. According to the online recourse Common Sense Media, 74 percent of characters on TV are Caucasian, and 64 percent of video games characters are males. In reality most of the images teens see in the media are edited, photo shopped, or enhanced with special effects. Even though a teen may be aware of this fact, seeing the stereotyped image still has an affect on their body image.
Often teens are not being educated about sex; therefore, are learning about if from porn, or other forms of media. The encouragement of sexual behavior is widely displayed in the media. Sex is being portrayed as more casual, without commitment, contraception, or consequences. Teen dramas and music videos portray the cool kids as the ones have sexual relations. The casual attitude about sex has sparked a new trend involving cell phones called Sexting. This is when a teen takes a nude photo with their mobile phone and sends it to another mobile phone. It is against the law to view and distribute child porn; because teens...